Spring Honey Pot

I’m hooked… I just love going toย Iris and Dora for a little afternoon “me time”. Painting pottery is quite therapeutic! This time I had gone with my step-daughter to a ladies evening social painting session. She painted a bowl and I chose this little honey pot. Of course, I love rainbows, this honeypot had to be full of colour๐ŸŒˆ

3 hours goes by in a flash once you lift your head from the relaxing zone you seem to find yourself in. Leaving behind the painted WIP’s the excitement builds to see the finished product – you have absolutely no idea what the glaze and burning process will reveal…

A week or so later, your number shows up on their Facebook page and its ready for collection. And voila, here it is ready to be used – they even gave me a honey spoon – how sweet! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Happy Saturday everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

Nina

Winter Ellie

It hardly ever snows in Guernsey. I think we’re usually protected from the snow ’cause our island is so small and right in the middle of the English Channel. Mind you, we’re also closer to France which is usually warmer than the UK. I just like to think the combination of position and the large salty expanse around us has ‘protected’ us from snowy falls. In the many years I’ve lived here, I think it has snowed a few times… and strangely, always when the daffodils have just come up with the hope of Spring around the corner.

It doesn’t help that we aren’t prepared for snowy climates having so little snow compared to the UK. From the practical things like grit/salt on our roads: we don’t have that, to the non-practical frenzy that seems to take hold of the people.ย  Our islands people become obsessed worry pots when the weatherman dares mention the words “snow”, “ice”, “Beast-from-the-East” and shops are emptied from all and any edible and any “we-might-need-this-in-a-few-days-if-we-are-snowed-in”. It’s great fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

Growing up in the ‘deep dark Africa’, I have very rarely seen snow and when I do come in contact with the fluffy cold stuff – I feel it’s fair to say that I become the largest kid out there, bursting with excitement and wonder. While everyone else is wondering and wishing for the snow to stop, I’m wishing for it to last longer, frustrated sitting at work wasting the opportunity, aching to go outside to catch the snow on my tongue… I’ve never made a snow angel and dying to! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a few snaps taken on my walks to work and back:

I had an order for an elephant. A new baby boy was due. He happened to arrive in the “Beast from the East” storm which hit us and the UK last week. With no post or planes coming on or off the island, I had some extra hours with this new baby Ellie before I could post him off to meet the new boy. Cold and wrapped up with scarves and gloves myself, I thought it might be a good idea to keep the Ellie warm too and made him a little scarf. I think he appreciated it ๐Ÿ™‚ his face seemed to light up! I also think in years to come, the Winter Ellie will remind little Killian of his snowy welcoming. Welcome little one!

Have fun if you’ve still got snow with you, there are some jealous souls (like me) wishing I was you! Stay safe.

Nina

 

Matching *Phone and *Card pouch

I’ve completed 3 custom orders this weekend. Very pleased to be able to share with you at least one of them (the other orders are top secret so you’ll have to wait to read about those later on ๐Ÿ˜Š)

This order was from my very good friend, Jo. She’s been one of my biggest supporters and has already purchased several crochet things from me. She loves her card pouches and wanted a third ‘summery one’, also a matching *Phone pouch, please.

Jo didn’t have any special requests – she said she trusted my judgement and thought whatever I made would be good enough. (High praise in deed!) Thinking about it – I know Jo loves blue. It’s her favourite colour. I thought about doing a *Blue Cherry Blossom design but also wanted to do something a little different.

After settling on the stripes of blue I went about making them. I then had the “hard job” of settling on buttons. I had several (in fact a WHOLE jar full) of quirky buttons left over from the making of theย *Earphone cable tidies. I quite liked the blue shells, the blue flowers and even the blue stars, but when I put the silver flower against the blue striped fabric – I just knew it had to be this or no other. Elegant and fun. Everyday use or special occasions.

I added a cotton floral lining and that was it – “a ta-dah” moment ๐Ÿ™‚ I quite like this myself – but what do you think – will she like it?

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Matching *Phone and *Card pouch

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Matching *Phone and *Card pouch (inside)

Blue stripe duo - *phone and *card holders

Matching *Phone and *Card pouch

Pottery Painting for Christmas

Not so long ago I was invited to an evening pottery at a local pottery business called Iris and Dora. Iris and Dora host parties for kids (or adults) where you get to choose from over 100 bisque pieces ranging from mugs to egg cups, tea candles to Christmas ornaments and get to decorate with paint to your hearts content. The parties are great fun, especially for creative souls like me – you can bring your own wine and snacks, or have a coffee or tea and the shop is always filled with like-minded friendly creative people. I’ve met a few new people and glad to say a few new friends and always feel welcome.

I wanted to make Jeremy a Christmas present.ย  I had in mind a bowl for him to store his ever growing amount of chillies – he loves them but usually has them scattered about all over the place and cant find them.

I started out painting one ‘abstract’ chilli on the side and although it looked ok, I had this creative spark and felt I just had to fillย  the whole bowl with chillies ๐Ÿ™‚

I had to return a few times after the initial 3 hour party and landed up spending 13hours in total painting (and that’s not a complaint) I landed up having a great time with my new friends at the same time. Once sat down to paint, amazingly the hours would fly by and I was reluctant to go home!

Once finished with the painting, the bowl was taken away to be dipped in glaze and fired in the kiln. While waiting for the potters to fire the bowl ready to collect, I was trying to source a collection of fresh chillies to put in the bowl to wrap up for Christmas. One hot Christmas present I’d say ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m really pleased with the outcome (have you noticed its even in Christmas colours!) and think I may have discovered another creative avenue which I could really get into!

J's chilli bowl glazed and fired ready for Christmas

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and are preparing for celebrating the close of 2017 and welcoming in of a fantastic New Year with style!

Nina

Catch up – Shilo’s Seahorse purse

When I said we were moving house, I didn’t quite expect the move to impact my creative work so much as it has. I’ve hardly had any time for much, except for a few stolen hours for a much needed head space in the form of a run. We’ve moved house and that’s only half the story. We’ve actually moved in with my 91 year old mother in law. A lovely lady and now that we’re here, I can see exactly why this move was much needed as she is very hard of hearing, getting tinier by the day and generally not been up to much in regards to house maintenance (which you can forgive her for – as much as she doesn’t want to admit it, she is no spring chicken)! I’ve been kept busy with cleaning mostly as her failing eyesight has clearly missed more than a few spots here and there and trying to clear out what I can and trying really hard not to step on her toes. 50 (plus) years my senior, I’m finding trying to change her old habits a little tough, she is ever so independent, so have to tread lightly and coax my way of thinking to get things done. For example, she’s so used to being on her own trying to do everything herself, I have to really bite my tongue when the little old lady tries to bring out the Hoover (which I might add is roughly the same size as her) and then gets annoyed with me for trying to carry it for her. I was caught red handed moving the sofas and tv to give the sitting room a good ol once over and I can tell you this upset her so badly, I think I may never attempt that one again. The invisible power struggle is a little tough at times, but I think we’ll get there.

Not quite the end of 2017 I was hoping for last year. I was sure I’d be knee deep in Christmas crafts. I’ve seen so many wonderful things and had so many ideas, I’ve had to jot them down but who knows where those papers are now! But it has been an important task, I know my mother in law, as much as she protests, really does need all the love and attention she can get now and any little bit I’m doing for her is greatly appreciated.

So to catch up on some of the things I have managed to do in between all the household changes (there have only been a handful), I thought I’d start with a post about Shilo’s purse, which I completed prior to our move.

A friend contacted me. Apparently Shilo loves handmade things and would appreciate a purse. My friend already picked out the design she wanted months ago we’d discussed it long before and I knew it was coming. But then suddenly, ย it was getting close to her birthday and so I set off to make a *seahorse purse ๐Ÿ˜Š

I’d sent the photos off and was asked if I could personalize it and add her name? I probably tried about a dozen different ways but eventually settled for her name to be embroidered in the water bubbles. This seahorse, for some reason (even though I followed the same pattern as before, turned out a little larger than the first, but I actually love how his tail curls around the bottom.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday Shilo! Our friend loves you very much โค๏ธ

I’ll be back soon with some more catch up stories.

Nina

Revisiting helpful items

You may remember the post I wrote about something I call a *Toe cosy . I made the “cosy” for myself following foot surgery because I found my toes to be quite cold being open to the cold winter nights and basically, being a crochet addict, found both the usefulness and attractiveness of the *Toe cosyย  very pleasing bonuses.

Since the post, I’ve made and sold 4 of them and the feedback I’ve had has been really positive. I don’t think there are a lot of people out there with casts, but when someone is in need of one they sure do appreciate this little helpful item and I’m very happy to be able to help brighten someone’s day.

People have bought them for themselves or as a “get well soon” token for a loved one. I’ve just finished making 3 more to add to myย Shop and busy working on even more. No one with a cast should be without a *Toe Cosy and I’m really hoping they (or their friends) will find me and get those piggy’s pretty and warm ๐Ÿ™‚

And if you missed the post before, Not forgetting the *Toe cosy’s who have already been their helpful selves…

 

Christmas is coming…

Etsy emailed me to let me know that they have given me a whole bunch of free listings in my Shop so that I can stock up with some Christmas supplies. Well that just got me all in a spin. I will never be able to fill the listings making purses by 18 October. I’m just not that organized ๐Ÿ˜

With my re-joining a consistent running routine I’ve had a little time to think about it and well an idea struck me like lightning on one of the many pre-run preparations:- The earphones I take with to listen to my favourite running play list are constantly causing delays and frustration. No matter what I do with them on my return from a run, the next time I get up to go, the earphones are in a tangled mess and it takes an age to sort out. I remember seeing a post somewhere, ages ago for cable ties, which gave me an idea…

I started out making one for myself and have been using it with great success and excitement. As people started noticing it, they’ve asked me for one too and so the tiny spark of an idea has boomed into a full blaze Christmas stocking filler gift idea – which would also be perfect for the Etsy listings. So I made the earphone “Extraordinaire’s” (๐Ÿ˜†) and to make the deal sweeter for my customers, also include a pair of earphones (good quality I’m assured) all wrapped in a Christmas organza bag. Perfect stocking fillers for Christmas gifts I think ๐Ÿ˜Š

If you’d like one or more (I don’t quite know which I’d choose myself – but perhaps the novelty buttons might give you an idea to match personalities)

Must warn you though – don’t delay – visit my shop before they’re all gone! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s how they work:Earphone *Cable Tidy - how they work

 

 

 

Peppermint Crisp Tart

You’ll be amazed to learn that I’m actually more than a crochet addict… Mostly I listen to the ramblings of my sister and husband (drooling) over recipes, but sometimes – especially combined with a 4 year homesickness – I actually find myself in the kitchen making something…

On my return from South Africa, instead of bringing back the usual assortment of extraordinary sweets / biscuits found on your holiday for work colleagues (just to add insult to their injury and remind them that you’ve been away somewhere exotic while they’ve been slaving away in your absence) Of course I’m not like that ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I brought back the ingredients to make a delicious-very-sinful-packed- full-of-yum tart…

If you manage to purchase the ingredients from one of the South African stores which seem to have popped up in this increasingly small “global nation” we call Earth (how small is this world? – South Africans and their shops are EVERYWHERE) I’m sure even though it’ll work out costly compared with purchasing in SA, (but then who can afford the added flight cost for a tart?) it is actually, well worth it and will give you 5 stars in any social event – especially if you want to make a good impression with something sweet and interesting.

If you’re unsure about which products to purchase, I’ve included some photos for a guide (what a peppermint crisp chocolate bar looks like, etc). Just so that you know – do not accept a chocolate bar where the peppermint crisp is soft or “tacky”. It should be brittle, light and fresh. As an added side note: – I doubled the below recipe to make a really BIG tart (and a mini one for my MIL as a birthday gift for her) so don’t be fooled by the photo’s if they do not match yours….

Here is the recipe which I hope you’ll be able to try out sometime.

Peppermint Crisp Tart

  • 200g Tennis Biscuits
  • 1 pack of lemon Jelly
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 1 tin caramelised condensed milk
  • 1 large bar of peppermint crisp (grated / some of it crushed for decoration)

First of all… if you cannot find ready made caramel, (unlike me… ) do not stress. To make caramel, I ‘Mom’d’ it (as everyone does when they’re stuck on what to do) and asked her how she made caramel when we were young. Basically you need a can of condensed milk. Pierce the can (or if like me you cannot pierce the tin (?) –ย  simply open it). Put the tin in a pot of boiling water on the stove, water as high as possible… for 3 hours… I had no idea it took that long to make caramel and believe me my resolve to dance while the caramel was boiling to store some extra “unused” calories didn’t last long ๐Ÿ™‚ but Dear Readers, persevere… ‘it is worth it!

Boiling the condensed milk

Once you have a tin of cool caramel and a tub of cold cream – you’re ready to start.

Using the 250ml boiling water,ย  dissolve the lemon jelly crystals and let it cool until its ‘just about’ to set. To speed it up – place in fridge but keep going in there to stir the jelly.ย  (It doesn’t have to be frozen – just at room temp so you don’t curdle the ceam)

Dissolving the jelly

Whip the cream until fluffy (but not stiff) and add the caramel and jelly – leaving some caramel for spreading.

Fold in 3/4 of the grated chocolate bar.

In a flat dish (square or rectangle) start layering as follows:

  • layer of biscuits
  • spread thin layer of caramel over biscuits
  • cream/ jelly mixture
  • layer of biscuits
  • spread thin layer of caramel
  • cream/ jelly mixture

Depending the dish size and amount of ingredients at hand, continue layering (even if its just twice) – finishing off with the cream mixture.

Place in fridge to set. Keep the crushed chocolate pieces in a cool dry place and just before serving (even an hour later), sprinkle with the last of the crushed peppermint crisp bar and remaining crushed biscuits.

Serve.

And Voila – there you have it – a South African tasty treat / dessert with flavours of caramel, crispy coconut texture (from the biscuits) and mint. Mind you… definitely not one for someone on a diet ๐Ÿ™‚

Ta-Dah...The finished product

If you do have a go at making this, let me know your thoughts and post photo’s if you like in the comments below ๐Ÿ™‚

Nina

 

Three finished and 3 on the go…

So do you remember the WIP I was making to hold my crochet hooks? Well… I’ve finished! Ta-dah! I’m rather chuffed with this little “purse”… I can see it being popular for new or “back-to-school-bies” as pencil cases too – but for now – I’m really happy with it and it being my favourite crochet hook holder…

To make your own if you wish, make 4 of your favourite granny squares (I chose the daisy granny), sew them together, add a zip then a lining and there you have it.. a ta-dah moment of your own. Or if you really can’t be bothered… contact me – I’ll be happy to make one for you too ๐Ÿ˜‰

Second on my “finished” list is the Yellow credit card holder. Now available in my Etsy store. These little purses are proving to be quite popular. They hold more than 1 credit card at a time (if you wish), are easy and attractive to carry without a wallet and of course much safer than leaving your card in your evening purse on its own on a night out…

Which brings me to the third – a card holder I made for myself ๐Ÿ™‚ – A girl has to “test-drive” the products she makes after all… As you know – I LOVE butterflies… little wonder why I made this one for myself ๐Ÿ˜€

ย Lastly, a look at the WIP’s (obviously one finished – above)… I’m sure you can guess what the front one is gonna be!

September WIPs

Well folks – that’s all the news I have to report for now. This week will be my last at my temp day job and then its full on packing, starting a new perm job on the 23rd and then moving home (into my MIL’s) on the 1st… *yikes*

Wish me luck ๐Ÿ™‚

Nina

Ava’s very special *Bunny

I really do LOVE love LOVE this little Bunny. She was made as a custom order for a very special little girl. Her Mum and Dad haven’t yet met her and are making preparations for her arrival from India. I’m so touched with their story of the adoption of Ava. They’ve set up a dedicated email account filled with diary entries, photos and special events so that one day when she’s older she can see all the loving preparation and consideration put into her arrival.

They wanted a handmade bunny companion for Ava to treasure that would also embrace her heritage and remind her of how much she is loved.

The ears are lined with fabric with an “Indian” feel. I went to an Indian haberdashery in South Africa to source something special. There were so many fabricsย  to choose from and so many helpers who offered their advice once they’d heard the story in finding the “perfect fabric” but when I saw this (which is actually a wide ribbon) I knew this was the one and went with my gut.

Ava’s *Bunny is also special in two other ways.ย  I adapted the pattern to make the foot and leg all in one rather than the foot and leg sections separately. The other is the addition of eyelashes! I had several attempts to get them just right – but I think they are gorgeous!

Ava, if you’re reading this (in years to come) – thank you very much for the inspiration to make something so incredibly special and I really do hope your bunny has been an exceptionally special companion for you.

Nina